Younger generation needs to be educated in money and politics


Jay Costa, Program Director at Maplight, explains how his website helps to provide transperency in campaign contributions. Costa was one of several speakers at a panel discussion concerning Money, Power, and Politics in the U.S. on March 13, 2014.

Regina Ortanez, Arts & features editor

A panel discussion on campus aimed to educate the younger generation on the influence of money in politics.

“Money, Power and Politics in the USA” was presented by ASDVC, Project Censored and the Money Out! People In! Coalition.

California state senator Mark DeSaulnier was present among the speakers on the panel which included Jay Costa, program director at, ASDVC President Sam Park and Dr. Jeremy Cloward, professor of political science here at DVC. Mickey Huff, DVC professor of history and social science and Director of Project Censored, moderated the discussion, as well as the Q-and-A afterwards.

The event began with a TED Talk video of Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law Professor, titled “We the People and the Republic We Must Reclaim.” Like many others featured in TED Talk videos, Lessig was persuasive his speech, which had to do with the necessity and importance of transparency within the government.

More specifically, transparency especially concerning campaign contributions given by corporations and the role that private interests play in influencing the government decision making.

Jay Costa presented a PowerPoint showing the extent of that influence using Prop 37, an initiative that failed to pass during the 2012 election season, as an example. According to Costa’s PowerPoint, the initiative, if passed, would have mandated labeling for genetically engineered foods, but had failed mostly due to the immense amount of funding the “No to Prop 37” received from the Monsanto corporation.

Following that, Park gave a powerful speech concerning the young generation and our desperate need to be “reordering priorities.”

According to Park’s speech, two-thirds of the U.S. can’t name a single Supreme Court Justice, yet everyone seems to be attuned the latest antics of Miley Cyrus or some other trivial celebrity gossip-related news.

Professor Cloward followed with a serious talk on the impact of the healthcare industry, the myth of universal healthcare and the danger of health insurance lobbyists.

Afterwards, Sen. DeSaulnier spoke in support of providing transparency, but was quickly bombarded with questions after his speech by political activists who attended the event. Fortunately for him, a number of his supporters in attendance were quick to jump to his defense.

The event commenced with more Q-and-A, which reverted back to the original issues concerning “Money, Power and Politics,” but not without a healthy amount of debate between Professor Cloward and the senator, who were both candidates running in opposition to each other for the U.S. House of Representatives for California’s 10th congressional district back in 2009.